Tag Archives: ESSA

Our Right to Refuse Testing in ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act)

In ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act) the following is found: “school districts must inform parents of their rights under State law or local policy to opt their children out of any assessments mandated by the Act, by the state, or by the local school district”. That provision is found in two places. The first requires each school district (local educational agency in federal parlance) to notify parents that they may request and will timely receive information about state and local opt-out policies:

Section 1111(e)(2), which reads:
‘‘(A) IN GENERAL.—At the beginning of each school year, a local educational agency that receives funds under this part shall notify the parents of each student attending any school receiving funds under this part that the parents may request, and the local educational agency will provide the parents on request (and in a timely manner), information regarding any State or local educational agency policy regarding student participation in any assessments mandated by section 1111(b)(2) and by the State or local educational agency, which shall include a policy, procedure, or parental right to opt the child out of such assessment, where applicable.
‘‘(B) ADDITIONAL INFORMATION.—Subject to subparagraph (C), each local educational agency that receives funds under this part shall make widely available through public means (including by posting in a clear and easily accessible manner on the local educational agency’s website and, where practicable, on the website of each school served by the local educational agency) for each grade served by the local educational agency, information on each assessment required by the State to comply with section 1111, other assessments required by the State, and where such information is available and feasible to report, assessments required districtwide by the local educational agency, including—
‘‘(i) the subject matter assessed;
‘‘(ii) the purpose for which the assessment is designed and used;
‘‘(iii) the source of the requirement for the assessment; and
‘‘(iv) where such information is available—
‘‘(I) the amount of time students will spend taking the assessment, and the schedule for the assessment; and
‘‘(II) the time and format for disseminating results.
‘‘(C) LOCAL EDUCATIONAL AGENCY THAT DOES NOT OPERATE A WEBSITE.—In the case of a local educational agency that does not operate a website, such local educational agency shall determine how to make the information described in subparagraph (A) widely available, such as through distribution of that information to the media, through public agencies, or directly to parents.

The second is in Section 1111(b)(2)(K)m which ensures that State or local laws allowing parents to opt their children out of assessments cannot be overruled by the U.S. Department of Education. Section 1111(b)(2)(K) reads:
Nothing in this paragraph shall be construed as preempting a State or local law regarding the decision of a parent to not have the parent’s child participate in the academic assessments under this paragraph.

The ESSA requirement for schools to meet the 95% Participation Rate under ESSA is found at:

Sec. 1111
Annually measure the achievement of not less than 95 percent of all students, and 95 percent of all students in each subgroup of students, who are enrolled in public schools on the assessments described under subsection (b)(2)(v)(I).
‘‘(IV) the weight of any measure or indicator used to identify or meaningfully differentiate schools, under this part;
‘‘(V) the specific methodology used by States to meaningfully differentiate or identify schools under this part;

HOWEVER, ESSA also includes this, which means that meeting the 95% requirement is no longer a pass/fail indicator all on its own if states don’t want it to be. A state could, for example, give a weight of 0.1% to participation rate in evaluating schools and the Department cannot make them do otherwise:

Sec. 1111
‘‘(1) IN GENERAL.—Nothing in this Act shall be construed to authorize or permit the Secretary—
‘‘(B) as a condition of approval of the State plan, or revisions or amendments to, the State plan, or approval of a waiver request submitted under section 8401, to—
‘‘(iii) prescribe—
‘‘(III) indicators that States use within the State accountability system under this section, including any requirement to measure student growth, or, if a State chooses to measure student growth, the specific metrics used to measure such growth under this part;
‘‘(IV) the weight of any measure or indicator used to identify or meaningfully differentiate schools, under this part;
‘‘(V) the specific methodology used by States to meaningfully differentiate or identify schools under this part;
‘‘(XI) the way in which the State factors the requirement under subsection (c)(4)(E)(i) [the 95% participation rate; see above] into the statewide accountability system under this section; or
‘‘(C) to issue new non-regulatory guidance that—
‘‘(i) in seeking to provide explanation of requirements under this section for State or local educational agencies, either in response to requests for information or in anticipation of such requests, provides a strictly limited or exhaustive list to illustrate successful implementation of provisions under this section; or
‘‘(ii) purports to be legally binding;


The new federal law on education, ESSA, is SOLD as if the Feds return power to the states. Only politicians would lie and tell you that a 1061 page federal law returns power to the states.

The best question to ask is,
Why does ESSA give unprecedented power to the U.S. Secretary of Education that requires him to approve “state plans” that include the academic standards?
Those state plans have to coordinate with 11 federal statutes which means they must BE Common Core or something LIKE Common Core.

DO not be fooled. ESSA doesn’t get RID of Common Core, it embeds it in our state.

This FRIDAY at 10:30 am, the NH Commissioner of Education, Virginia Barry will offer a presentation to the Education Committee at the Legislative Office Building Room 207 on ESSA.

Parents are encourage to attend this meeting to hear our Commissioner explain this new law.

Will she explain how ESSA codified in law the expansion of pre-school programs? And at the same time explain how the Head Start program has been a drain on taxpayers with no real results to speak of? The Head Start studies showed Head Start was a failure but ESSA will expand the push for universal pre-school.

Will she explain that ESSA federal testing requirements are aimed more at assessing your child’s attitudes and dispositions versus academic knowledge?

As part of the ESSA law, states must come up with a PLAN for education that includes a “FAMILY ENGAGEMENT PLAN.” The US Dept of Education (USED) is supposed to come up with their own Family Engagement Plan that states MAY adopt, if they don’t want to do their own homework.

What about President Obama’s special project known as the “21st Century Community Learning Centers.
[This] means that schools will be expanded to replace family and church as the center of every child’s life, offering myriad “services” including mental-health programs. Few things should alarm parents more than the prospect of the government’s assessing their child’s mental health and proceeding to fix any problem the government claims to find. But this is what the Republican Congress has given us.

Parents and legislators have a right to hear the truth. The good and the bad. Not a list of talking points provided by the supporters of ESSA which included the NGA and the CCSSO. (Common Core architects and supporters)

Government control of the family via ESSA school programs

Please read Dr. Mary Grabar’s post about one of the many troubling aspects of the new fed-ed bill given to us by our U.S. Senate & Congress (with the praise worthy exception of Frank Guinta — please thank him for having the backbone to oppose this). Through “family engagement” programs, the federal government wants to train parents to raise their children in government-approved fashion. You may be surprised to learn, or maybe not, that home visits are recommended for all families. Dr. Grabar describes how you can file a comment on this scheme before USED finalizes the regulations. Not that it will change their mind, but it will be interesting to see how many critical comments USED acknowledges in its final regulation.


Just a reminder: Senators Shaheen, Ayotte and Congresswoman Kuster all voted YEA on ESSA

ESSA benefits Goldman Sachs? But hurts SPED kids?

A teacher has been filtering through the 1061 pages of ESSA (reauthorization of No Child Left Behind) in order to point out troubling issues with the legislation signed into law yesterday by President Obama:

1. Pay For Success – “Investors” like Goldman Sachs come into a school district to evaluate SPED kids. Goldman Sachs gets a kickback or “return on their investment” for every student NOT enrolled in Special Ed. In Utah, Golman Sachs determined that 99% of SPED kids were not SPED – miraculously cured! They also received a first payment of $250K! Stealing scarce resources from the kids that need it the most and lining the pockets of billion dollar corps.
2. No parent opt out provision. Leaves it up to states to work out how to deal with opt outs.
3. Still has the 95% participation testing requirement.
4. Still allows Secretary of Ed to take over state and LEA’s.
5. Big swath of funding to the expansion of charter schools.

So why did Senators Ayotte, Shaheen and Congresswoman Kuster ALL vote for this?
Why did Governor Hassan, the AFT and NEA in NH all praise this?

NH parents need to think about who is serving the interests of children and who is serving the interest of Goldman Sachs the next time they vote.

No…ESSA will NOT remove Common Core

Do not be fooled by the “spin” coming from those who say the reauthorization of No Child Left Behind (ESSA) will prevent the Feds from mandating Common Core. Remember, Common Core was never mandated to begin with. Yet it’s in every state in the U.S.

It was implemented through bribery (Race to the Top Grants) and coercion (No Child Left Behind waivers). That’s how the U.S. government works under the Obama administration. Corruption through grants and waivers……

According to Emma Vadehra, Chief of Staff, US Dept of Education, this bill will embed “college and career ready standards” or as we know, Common Core©. They do not expect any states to get away from the standards. It also solidifies the Department’s plans for full preK expansion. It was also stated that the preK grants were significant in moving the ball and that states are on the hook financially as well. The DoE is giddy with excitement at the impending passage of ESSA.